Labor Pains

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The stunning election of Scott Brown to Teddy Kennedy’s old Senate seat has already had one salutary effect. I refer to the quashing of Craig Becker’s nomination to the National Labor Relations Board.

Even among the ultra-leftists Obama has nominated to various positions, this one appointment reeked of extremism. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is supposed to be a neutral arbiter in disputes between organized labor and businesses. But in a naked attempt at regulatory capture, Obama nominated to the open seat on the NLRB Mr. Becker, a lawyer last employed by the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO.

Becker has quite a history of ultra-pro-labor sympathies. In one of his law journal articles, he argued that “employers should be stripped of any legally cognizable interest in their employees’ election of representatives.” In another article, he urged that the NLRB has the power, simply and at will, to rewrite the rules governing union elections, so as to favor labor. This would presumably include the power to institute card check rules, rules allowing a union to win certification if it can get a majority of workers to sign up publicly, instead of requiring a secret ballot. Quite a neutral guy.

In a surprise vote, two Democrats (blue dogs, scared by Brown’s win) voted with all the Republicans to block a cloture vote on the nomination. That effectively killed it, since the Democrats had lost their filibuster-proof majority.

Obama may use a “recess appointment” to get Becker in, but such a move will cost him political support, a commodity becoming scarcer for him by the day.

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